It wasn’t until I began my self-exploration that I had an epiphany. Morning rituals are the best. You might be thinking this is no epiphany, but it was for me. Every morning when my alarm goes off, and I contemplate whether I really need this job or whether marrying rich is the way to go (I know, don’t judge me), I remember that the short time I’ve set aside each morning is going to shape the rest of the day for me. If it’s missed, somehow the following 16-18 hours will just feel like a second-by-second countdown until I’m back under my warm duvet ready for bed. I’ve had a morning ritual for about 3 years now, and it’s perfectly simple. It has changed over the years but it always includes two things: 1) Silence, and 2) Tea.
For a year and a half, my mornings began with two hours of silence. I started off by making myself a travel mug of tea (milk and half a teaspoon of honey) and a toasted cheese sandwich and getting in my car. It would take me about 15 minutes to drive to the train station, a drive that I would make in silence. I always have the radio on in my car hoping that my latest guilty pleasure would be overplayed, but on these mornings, One Direction had to wait. Once I arrived at the train station (30 minutes early), I parked and began to enjoy my warm cup of tea. Five minutes before the train arrived, I would venture onto the platform where I knew the 3rd train car from the front would stop every morning, and waited amongst the 10-15 others who also had the obsessive compulsive need ride in the exact same car every morning (I felt like we were all silent friends who collectively decided making eye contact wasn’t necessary.) The top level of the train, brilliantly called “The Quiet Zone” during rush hour, was where I spent the following 25 minutes. Occasionally two people who clearly loved the sound of their voices would come up to the Quiet Zone and disrupt everyone’s peace by talking about how much they love their morning coffee whilst simultaneously getting holes burned through them with the eyes of all the Quiet Zone regulars, but more often than not, the silence was respected. That was my ritual. Simple right? The idea of getting to the train station early was odd to some, especially since I sat in my car and watched a train come and go that was going downtown. Why not get out of the car, and drink your tea on the train, Norine? Why not? I don’t have an answer for that. This was my ritual and I loved it.
Since then, I’ve changed jobs and eliminated the train commute. My mornings still include tea and silence; however, I tend to use my mornings as a silent space for creativity and thought. Instead of using the silence to zone out and not think for a while, I use it to write. Enter: Morning pages. Morning pages were first introduced to me by my sister. When we lived together, I would come downstairs each morning to find her at the kitchen table, writing. I never understood what she could possibly be writing about. What does one possibly have to say at 7:00 am beside “I can’t wait to go to sleep tonight.” Am I right? But I quickly realized that this ritual is grounding. My tea, my thoughts, and a notebook are all I need every morning, and this makes my day. Everyday.
So, what’s your ritual? Start simple. If it’s simply a cup of coffee, then enjoy the shit out of that cup of coffee. If it’s a morning stretch at the foot of your bed, feel that stretch through every muscle of your body. Whatever it is, just be there and savor it. We all too often focus on the next moment without being in the present. As someone who used to chuckle and judge those who adopted what I called the hippie mentality, I believe that this is the best thing you can do for yourself. Create your morning ritual and live in it each and every morning. It will do your mind and body very very good.